Les Leyne: Candidate’s collapse a familiar NDP faux pas

B.C. New Democrats are very inclusive. They’ll take just about anybody who wants to be a candidate.

The party’s loose approach to picking candidates has been shown several times over the years. The B.C. Liberals were only too happy to put it on display again Tuesday.

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They checked out Kelowna-Mission NDP candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk’s public musings on a community blog going back a few years and came upon a jackpot, of sorts.

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On the topic of status Indians, she delivered a jaded rant in 2009 on how wrong it is to hold society responsible for what happened to First Nations in times gone by.

“This native handout isn’t from government … it’s from the overworked calloused hand of every single TAX paying person in this country. The government is nothing more than a big black hole that feeds off the working man, sucking his last penny from his hand so they can give it away freely or lose it stupidly on things like fast ferries and about a zillion other stupid things.

“In my opinion we have paid our debt ... a thousand fold … it’s time to move on.”

After watching the 2010 Olympics opening, she made some points about French being used first.

“This is B.C. we speak English here … Now I read they are upset not enough French was spoken ... are you freaking kidding me??!!!!

“Speak french, don’t speak french ... i couldn’t care less but when you force it down my throat every time i turn around, it pisses me right off!

“Seems the only group of people universally hated around the world other than Americans are the french and FRENCH CANADIANS … the bigots are the french not us … get over yourselves already.”

The initial reaction is that Van Ryswyk got her papers mixed up and signed on with the wrong party. If she’d enlisted with the B.C. Conservatives, she’d probably be deputy leader by now.

She also picked the party with exactly the wrong leader. During his enforced timeout from government after working for then premier Glen Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix spent a few years as the B.C. director of Canadian Parents for French. His job was to lobby for and promote French immersion in schools. Or, as Van Ryswyk would put it, ram it down their throats.

The views contrast with remarks she made two weeks after getting the nomination.

“We will be business-friendly while we protect people’s rights, honour collective agreements, embrace our ethnic diversity, be inclusive and protect the environment,” she told supporters.

“Why can’t I be free enterprise and care about people at the same time? I strongly believe you can be both, that an NDP government under Adrian Dix will be both.”

But, with her original views out in public, she and Dix are obviously a bad fit. Thankfully, the doomed relationship was called off before it really began.

Liberals hit “Send” on their revelation just as Premier Christy Clark was pulling up at Government House to get the vice-regal green light for the election.

Two hours later, 90 minutes into the official campaign, Dix responded to the “unacceptable” comments by accepting her resignation.

“Accepting,” in this context, is often a synonym for “demanding.”

Part of her reason for running appears to be a long-standing beef with the ministry of highways over road access for her Rutland-area business. She showed up on the steps of the legislature a few years ago with a protest display on that topic. It’s as close as she’ll get to the legislature this time around.

Her quest for a seat inside is now over before it began.

Van Ryswyk was a last-minute addition to the team. She won an uncontested nomination and was going up against well-known Liberal cabinet minister Steve Thomson. So her story is unlikely to change the election results.

She joins a list of NDP candidates going back years who flame out for real or perceived problems that aren’t that hard to discover, but somehow went unnoticed by the party when they applied for nomination papers. Last time around, they ditched a candidate for what they said was an inappropriate picture. It had been posted on Facebook for months.

For the NDP, handing out applications to prospective candidates is easy. Checking the answers is the tough part.

For more on B.C. politics and election news, visit: timescolonist.com/bcelection

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